In response to #BringBackOurGirls 16-year-old Malwandla Ubisi from South Africa submitted a poem she wrote inspired by the situation.?
Let Me Be
I am always in fear. Always watching ma back. Always the main target? Living with the doors locked in my own house. Every sentence has a full stop at the end, don?t you. When will it reach an ending? I want my dignity back. I am known to be the braviest creature on the planet earth. I am gonna show you how brave I am. I want to live with no fear, be able to live with my doors unlocked in my own house. I want to be as free as you are. Let me live the way I want to live. Let me go and live my own life the way I want to. I want to live freely without any fear. Unchain me and let me go. Please let me be?
South Africa is currently in a delicate season of intensified party politics as we draw closer to the fifth age of democratic rule. The build up to the elections has certainly made it difficult for one to be oblivious about South African politics. However, while we come out in numbers and support the political ideologies best suited to our individual needs, the rest of Africa is plagued by adversity.
Boko Haram?s quest to rule Nigeria under strict Sharia law has result in a disillusioned Nigeria. For a year now, an Islamic terrorist group has abducted young girls in Nigeria and has bloodied its hands with the bodies of many since 2009. 234 girls were abducted a few weeks ago in Nigeria under the apparent instruction of ?God?. There have also been threats to sell the girls. The terrorist organization?s target of children, females especially, should be a cause for concern for the international community. In Boko Haram?s mission to rule Nigeria, they are particularly focused on ensuring that women remain in subservient positions. Women are perceived strictly as care givers that should not receive any formal education. Therefore, there is an inextricable link between the abduction of school girls and Sharia law.
Enshrined in South Africa?s foreign policy is the diplomacy of Ubuntu and South Africa?s commitment to contributing to the advancement of other African states. ?Ubuntu? is that spirit of humanity that asserts others of their well-being. It is the ability to find humanity when there is none left. This ideal is one that we should be spreading throughout the rest of our divine continent. Let it not be a mere philosophy but a global reality and phenomenon. South Africa also openly aligns itself with the aspiration of creating equal opportunity for both men and women. To pretend to be blind men walking and not shift our attention to the situation in Nigeria would be an injustice. Making commitments to the rest of Africa means that all citizens are liable to any interventionist methods that must be taken. South African intervention need not be determined by the extent of absolute gain. If there is anything to gain, its peace. That is the incentive. To achieve cooperation and peace would be the ultimate realisation of Ubuntu.
The likes of Akubakar Shekau of the Boko Haram and Al Qaeda continue to inflict pain on humanity in the name of religion. All you who are religious should also stand firm against acts of violence in the name of your ?God?. To what do you owe this ?god? that you have been (self) ordained to take life as you please? Yes, it may be argued that it is only a minority capable of such despicable acts however it is such controversy that stains all humanity. It is no wonder that the entire world is plagued with anomie and has discredited religion as a means of producing a universal moral compass. To what lengths will we go to get what we want? For how long must women, all over the world, be subject to violence and subservient positions? For how long will human beings see the face of terror? For how long will African countries be depended on Western Super Powers in times of adversity?
For a second, forget about parading the streets and insulting each other because of differing political affiliations. Forget about worrying about whether or not the ?Red Soldiers? will win the elections. Forget about acquiring power. It is the weapon of mass destruction. It has left Africa in a state of turmoil. Let?s put aside our differences and develop one conscious. That conscious should help us see with eyes that sees things much too far. Nigeria alone cannot be walking through the valley of darkness.
You alone may not have the capability to change the world, but your voice is an instrument for this revolution. You tweeting #BringBackOurGirls is awareness. Your Facebook status is your conscious. Your signature on a petition is a key. Your efforts will touch many hearts. Your prayer will bring the world healing. In South Africa. In Nigeria. The World.
Nkosi Sikelela iAfrika
The first time I heard about the abduction of 234 girls in a school in Chibok was 2 weeks ago. I did not do much to act because I believed that the Nigerian government would intervene very?swiftly. I believed that they would?prioritize girls and their?right to an education. This has not happened. What struck a nerve for me as a V-Girl is that it is believed that these girls have been?sold into marriage to the ‘Boko Haram’ militants and some have been moved to nearby countries of Cameroon and Chad.
Cecile emailed a couple of V-Girls and I urging us to use the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls and to sign the online petition on change.org. She also told us that over 1 million women would be protesting in Abuja throughout the week. That is when I really felt as though I have a role to play in raising awareness and rising for Nigeria.
I came up with the #headwrap campaign and I asked people to wear a headwrap and tag me in their pictures. At first I had 10 pictures, now I am battling to put an OBR slogan on all of them. Participants love the OBR slogan because it makes them feel as though they are part of something bigger than themselves – and they are.
Headwraps are an obvious symbol of compassion for our Nigerian sisters because they have been a part of their history for centuries. Wearing a headwrap will not bring back the girls but it will get more and more women involved by making the issue relatable. I believe that if every women wore a #headwrap and used the hashtag?#BringBackOurGirls?today, that would raise a lot of global awareness and put pressure on the Nigerian government to act.
I went to the Naija Soc Prayer Vigil at the University of Cape Town this evening and for the first time in 2 weeks, I got to say a prayer for the girls. I believe that there is hope. I spoke to Naija Soc and they have agreed to support a Cape Town (CTP) event. This is great news for me because CPT has been waiting for an action.
The event is called Cape Town rises for Nigeria and I am asking people to join us outside Parliament for a peaceful protest as part of efforts to call on the South African government to release an official statement on their plan to free the 234 girls who were abducted in Chibok. You can find information on the event here.
It is time to refuse to be taken and retaken. We want those girls freed and we demand the SA gov. to issue an official statement.?We are girls. We are refusers. We will refuse to be abused.
V-Day Toronto is producing the first production of Emotional Creature in Canada. Cast member Riley Chow writes about her experiences as a cast member below. If you would like to put on your own production of Emotional Creature sign up at our VSpot. Catch Riley and everyone in their production of Emotional Creature at the Young People’s Theater Mainstage on Saturday, February 22nd and Sunday, February 23rd. Buy your tickets now!?
Working on and creating such an emotional and powerful piece has been such an incredible experience. It?s been a rollercoaster of learning and bonding and sharing and I cannot believe that it?s already nearly over. Getting together with twelve other teenage girls and being thrown into such an intense piece was really scary at first.? I was really nervous and quite hesitant to really let go and not hold back but after the first couple rehearsals of awkward interactions and embarrassing moments, we?ve all become a quite tight knit group of people.
To begin with, it was an entirely new experience for me because I personally haven?t ever done a serious production like this before; only small school or community plays for fun. I had no idea what to expect, what the process was going to be like or what it was going to be like working with a dozen other girls that I?d never met before.
I remember, at the very first rehearsal, we all sat in a circle and just talked about issues that women were facing in the world and what it was like to be in grade eight or to be finished high school. We shared our personal experiences and our personal views on different subjects. I don?t think I?m ever going to forget that afternoon because I took so many good things, so many emotions and feelings away from it.
Once I got over the initial self-consciousness and nervousness I really felt so comfortable in the space and around everyone else and it was so much easier to learn when I let myself open up. I?ve learned so much in such a short time span, and my eyes have been opened up to so many things that I?d never even thought about. I feel as though I?ve grown a lot as an actress as well as a person and I?m still growing and learning from the other people. It?s been so interesting hearing other people?s opinions and views and stories, learning about other people?s outlooks on life and certain controversial subjects.
In a lot of ways we are all completely different, we all come from very different backgrounds and families and we all have very different experiences with life up until now but at the end of the day we?re all teenage girls and we can all relate to each other with certain things. It?s amazing how different two sixteen-year-old girls can be and it?s just as amazing how similar a thirteen year old and a nineteen year old can be. Although we can be drastically different, there?s a certain language, a certain way of communication that teenage girls all just know. There?s a way that we can just tell what a girl feels or means just by the way she says something, and it?s really quite magical.
I?m really sad that the show has come to an end so quickly and I won?t be able to see all of these amazing people on a regular basis anymore, but it?s been such an incredible ride and I am so happy that I got to share it with everyone. I have made some great friends and created some great memories, and although it has to end I am so thankful that I was able to be a part of this amazing adventure. I truly have realized that I am an emotional creature.
We celebrate independence by highlighting amazing girls who take it upon themselves to make change in the world through creativity. Do It V (DIV) is a weekly column featuring talented V-Girls around the globe who are inspired to make art, fashion, technology and other DIY projects in the name of activism and philanthropy. If you?re interested in featuring your creativity ? be it poetry, art, dance, music, writing, tech, or food you make in the name of a cause ? email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome completed pieces as well as works in progress.
V-Girl Mantala?Nkoatse from the Alexandra Township of Johannesburg, South Africa became inspired while reading I Am An Emotional Creature: The Secret Lives of Girls Around the World. Hearing stories of child brides on the news while reading the monologues featured in the book, Mantala wrote her own spoken word piece addressing issues faced by girls forced into marriage. Check out her performance of her piece “I Am An Emotional Creature”
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